Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Personal Life of Heracles (Hercules)

During the course of his life, Hercules married four times. His sexual prowess with males and females were among the characteristics commonly attributed to him.

When he was young he moved to Thebes, where he married King Creon's daughter, Megara. They had four children: Therimachus, Creontiades, Ophitus, and Deicoon. At this point goddess Hera made him mad and as result,  Hercules killed his children. After his madness had been cured, he realized what he had done and fled to the Oracle of Delphi, where he was directed to serve King Eurystheus for ten years. Thus, this was the beginning on of the most famous Greek myths, the 12 labours of Hercules. There are two contradicted versions of the story about Megara. The variation included in Biblioteca tells us that his wife Megara was unharmed and given in marriage to Iolaus. On the other hand, in Euripides' version of the story, Hercules killed Megara during his madness.

Omphale wearing Hercules' garb.
Omphale, the second wife of
Greek Hero Hercules.
His second wife was Omphale, the Lydian queen or princess to whom he was delivered as a slave. In one of many Greek variations on the theme of penalty for his murder of Iphitus, by the command of the Delphic Oracle Xenoclea, remanded as a slave to Omphale for the period of a year, the compensation to be paid to Eurytus, who refused it. There are many late Hellenistic and Roman references in texts and art to Hercules being forced to wear women's clothes and do women's work helping Omphale's maidens. Even more, Omphale was wearing the skin of the Nemean Lion and carried Hercules' olive-wood club. After some time, Omphale fell in love with the Greek hero and took him as her husband.

His third marriage was with Deianira, the daughter of Greek god of wine Dionysus and Althaea the daughter of King Thestius. Both Hercules and the river god Achelous wanted to marry her. They fought each other and Hercules won. Soon after they wedding, Hercules and Deianira had to cross a river, and a centaur named Nessus offered to help Deianira across but then attempted to rape her. Hercules killed him with his arrows dipped in the poisonous blood of the Lernaean Hydra. As he lay dying, Nessus plotted revenge, told Deianira to gather up his blood and spilled semen and, if she ever wanted to prevent Hercules from having affairs with other women, she should apply them to his vestments. Later, when Deianira suspected that Hercules had an affair with Iole, she prepared a shirt using the mixture that Nessus gave. Unfortunately, without knowing she gave the poisoned shirt to Hercules, eventually killing him. Hercules and Deianira had five children: Hyllus, Ctesippus, Glenus, Oneites, and Macaria.

After his death, he become a full god and join his father and the other Olympians on Mount Olympus, where she married Hebe, his fourth and last wife. She is the daughter of god Zeus and goddess Hera, and she was the cupbearer for the gods and goddesses of Mount Olympus, serving their nectar and ambrosia, until she was married to Hercules. She had the power to give eternal youth. They had two children: Alexiares and Anicetus. They were worshiped the most in Thebes and Rhodes, their powers were said to be youth and sports.

Affairs of Hercules

In another story he stayed stay at the palace of Thespius king of Thespiae, who wished him to kill the Lion of Cithaeron. When Hercules killed the Lion, the Thespius king offer him to make love with his daughters for one night. According to the myth, he had 50 daughters and Hercules was able to accomplish it. Thus, they all became pregnant with sons. This story is sometimes referred to as his Thirteenth Labour. 

The Greek hero had another female affair when he visited the country of the Scythians. While he was asleep there, his horses suddenly disappeared. He searched them he came into the country of Hylaea where he found the Dracaena of Scythia in a cave. Dracaena is a female dragon human-like characteristics. When he asked whether she knew anything about his horses, she answered, that they are in her possession. She made an offer to the Greek hero: to stay with her for few days and then giving him the horses. Hercules accepted her offer, and became the father of Agathyrsus, Gelonus, and Scythes. 

As symbol of masculinity and warriorship, Hercules also had a number of male lovers. The most famous include: the Theban Iolaus, Hylas, Elacatas, Abderus, Iphitus, and Sostratus. There is also a series of lovers who are either later inventions or purely literary conceits.